Gunslingers and Spies

I was four years old and buried in the basement of our home on Sharon Crescent in the village of Cooksville. Long since devoured by the fast growing city of Mississauga, it was where I broke my leg. I had a big, blue tricycle. We were out for a walk and I was terrified by the mountainous hill that was our street. My dad was trying to encourage me and hopped on the back pushing with his leg. Not liking the speed I threw both legs off the pedals. My right leg became entangled in the front wheel. I remembered the nurses making a fuss and signing my cast.

Cocooned there, I spent hours watching the large cartoon barn doors open and close to the theme song of Popeye the Sailor Man. I turned the volume down on the TV when the announcer began to speak over the strings and horns that announced the Adventures of Superman. Hidden there I managed to sneak a few episodes where he fought for “ ruth Justice and the American way." My mother thought it was too violent for my tender viewing.

We moved from the land of the Maple Leaf to Arizona thanks to John Difenbaker ordering the most advanced fighter plane on the planet (the Avro Arrow) being torn apart and unceremoniously dumped in Lake Ontario. I guess pollution and recycling had not become politically correct in 1959.

Friday nights we curled up in front of our 21 “ black and white when the opening music from Bonanza, Gunsmoke or the Rifleman drew us into the family room. Honest cowboys wearing white hats defeated the more shifty evil doers. Winchesters and ponies. I loved it.

There in Scottsdale, Arizona I went hunting road runners with my dad. Well, I kept him company. I was six and could hardly wait to be twelve when you could, with supervision own your own 12 gauge. We feasted on road runners and rabbits. They came out of a brown shoulder pouch on the days he hunted alone.

In 1961 my dad forged ahead to join Hamilton Standard out of Hartford Connecticut. My mom, not being the bread winner was in charge of relocating the troops. She followed in a 4 seater Jaguar complete with my Aunt Edith, my brothers Bryn and Chad and myself and oodles of luggage piled on the roof. We stayed at roadside motels. I was contagious with Red measles and was made to sit in the car hidden behind the rear seat. When the coast was clear I was wrapped in a blanket and spirited inside. There I would dash to the bathroom and vomit. As I crouched against the cool tile of the bowl, I could hear the banjo picking music in the next room as my brothers watched The Beverly Hillbillies.

At JP Vincent school in Hartford, we trained once a week to protect ourselves from Nuclear Attack. There, I learned how to Duck and Cover under a desk in the event that Moscow sent a missile our way. It was an interesting time. The Cuban Missile Crisis, Nuclear Proliferation, and commies around every corner. However, I knew when the music blared for “The Man from Uncle, Mission Impossible and The Avengers” from our living room, that we were being protected from America’s enemies.

The world can be a frightening place. I am not sure if we are in more or less danger than 55 years ago. I recently heard the siren call of the theme song from The Man from Uncle. Wow, this should be cool. I sat down to consume the old favourite. The large reel to reel tapes on computers the size of a Volvo, Robert Vaughan talking into his fountain pen “Open channel D.” How did I watch this stuff? Still it is comforting to know that men like like Napolean Solo and Ilya Kuriaken are out there keeping us safe.

 

Gunslingers and Spies

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